Targeting Casein kinase 2 with quercetin or enzymatically modified isoquercitrin as a strategy for boosting the type 1 interferon response to viruses and promoting cardiovascular health

Med Hypotheses. 2020 Sep:142:109800. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2020.109800. Epub 2020 May 4.


The serine/threonine kinase CK2 has been shown to down-regulate the production of type 1 interferons in response to viral infections by conferring an inhibitory phosphorylation on RIG-I, which functions to detect double-stranded RNA generated during replication of RNA viruses. Quercetin and certain other planar flavones/flavonols can inhibit CK2 in high nanomolar concentrations; this may explain quercetin's ability to slow the proliferation of RNA viruses in cell cultures and in mice. Limited clinical evidence suggests that supplemental quercetin may decrease risk for upper respiratory infections in humans. Quercetin and enzymatically-modified isoquercitrin (EMIQ - a food additive/nutraceutical that upon oral administration achieves far higher plasma concentrations of quercetin than quercetin per se) also have exerted a range of vascular-protective effects clinically and in rodents - improving endothelial function, warding off atherosclerosis, lowering blood pressure, decreasing C-reactive protein, aiding glycemic control, stabilizing platelets - that might also, at least in part, reflect CK2 inhibition. The utility of quercetin, EMIQ, and other clinically feasible CK2 inhibitors for aiding control of viral infections and promoting vascular and metabolic health merits further evaluation.

Keywords: CK2; Enzymatically-modified isoquercitrin; Interferon; Quercetin; RIG-I; RNA viruses.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Casein Kinase II
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Interferons
  • Mice
  • Quercetin* / analogs & derivatives
  • Viruses*


  • isoquercitrin
  • Interferons
  • Quercetin
  • Casein Kinase II